Lesson of the Day: Protest Works!

April 13, 2011 Uncategorized
Elation is the only word to describe my feeling when I read the headline, “Mubarak’s sons in ‘total disbelief’ as they are hauled into jail.”  At long last, after two months of waiting, the process of holding the old regime to account for its crimes against Egyptians is properly underway.  That it should have taken quite so long simply to begin the interrogation of those who sat atop the pyramid of graft and corruption that was the Mubarak regime is testament to one of the foremost challenges Egypt faces: Overhauling not simply the personnel, but the entrenched interests and, indeed, the very structure of the old regime.  For make no mistake: The structures of power that kept Mubarak in power for thirty years remain in place to this day.

This is cause for alarm, but certainly not despair.  The most important lesson that, to my mind, we need to take from today’s events is a profoundly hopeful one.  Protest works.  The pressure of the people works to effect change.  And it is only by keeping up that pressure that further change will occur.

I’ve stood accused of ‘romanticizing’ the revolution, in the face of those who feel that it is too soon even to use the word ‘revolution’ to describe what is transpiring in Egypt.  Surely it is as clear as day that, for the Egyptians who trek to Tahrir Square every Friday, this is a revolution… or, at the very least, a revolution in progress.  They know all too well how much there is left to accomplish.  They are not about to rest on their laurels.  Why?  Because they saw on February 11th, the day of the resignation, and they saw today, that protest works, that they are the very lynchpin of the revolution.  This is the lesson that the SCAF has sent Egyptians today, that the people of Egypt have power and can exercise that power to effect change.  And for that lesson, I am enormously grateful.

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